Looking for an accessiBe review and wondering if it’s the right accessibility solution for your website? Then continue reading this page to find out.
But first, did you know?
Lawsuits on websites are increasing in frequency due to their non-compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG).
If you’re a website owner or developer and want to ensure that your client websites are fully accessible and compliant with these complex standards then you’re probably looking for a service or technology that can help you in solving these conformance failures.
The good news is that there are a number of accessibility solutions in the market today and one of the popular brands that attempts to resolve these compliance issues is accessiBe.
What is accessiBe?
accessiBe is an AI-powered web accessibility solution that automatically makes websites compliant with worldwide standards and legislations with a much fast turnaround.
How does it work?
What it does is that it can scan and analyze an entire website for up to 2 days (usually shorter than that) and do the fixes or simply provide you with detailed recommendations to make it more accessible.
But this is not just a basic “plugin” that you can use for your site. In fact, it has a lot of add-ons and features that make them stand out from other web accessibility services out there.
But before we get started, let’s look at the pros and cons:
- Extremely easy to set up
- Works on most website systems and CMS platforms
- Detailed installation guides
- User-friendly and customizable interface for users with disabilities
- Regular monthly audits and daily monitoring
- Compliant with several accessibility standards including WCAG, ADA, EAA and others
- Free to test for 7 days
- Phone support not available
Here’s a short preview so you can see how it works:
So how do you integrate accessiBe with your website? What are the supported systems?
What’s interesting is that it is compatible with most types of CMS (content management software) platforms and here are some of them to name a few:
- .NET Nuke
These are just some of the platforms that we saw in their list and we decided not to include them all in this review because it’s quite long but basically, it works with any site.
This is actually a strong advantage because other accessibility solutions that are available in the market today support only a number of limited systems and usually, these are popular platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Weebly and the like.
And if you have a custom system, it will most likely still work without any bugs or issues. In fact, we tried installing it on almost any platform or CMS that we could think of and surprisingly, it worked smoothly and never experienced any errors after testing the UI.
But what if your website doesn’t even have a system? Guess what? accessiBe will work on that as well. We did a test and the result was basically the same. Impressive.
Why is this possible?
The reason why they were able to achieve this is because it actually operates from the client’s side.
Their technology will operate complete with all of its features regardless of the server or platform your website is using. It doesn’t care if your site is running on WordPress, Joomla, OpenCart, Shopify, Drupal or an unpopular CMS because there’s no compatibility issue to begin with.
To make it simple: It doesn’t matter what your website’s system is or if your website has a system.
So how do you install accessiBe on your website?
If your website is powered by WordPress, Volusion, WIX and Joomla, accessiBe offers detailed installation guides for these particular platforms. Don’t worry because the steps are quite simple and are very much the same but they have been adjusted for these systems.
Here’s a preview of their detailed installation guide of accessiBe for Joomla websites:
In WordPress for example, you will first need to open an account and once you have registered, you will need to search for the accessiBe plugin, install it on your website and then activate it. The next step is to go to the settings and paste the implementation script that you will receive from them via your registered email. That’s it.
Here’s the thing:
For tech people, these things are certainly easy to understand but if you’re not a techie person and have no idea on where to place this code properly, you just need to check this with your site administrator or simply ask them to do it for you.
accessiBe’s web accessibility solution comes with a widget that aims to resolve several concerns and issues without having to make major revisions or changes of a website’s source code.
This visual overlay has a variety of functions and options for manipulating page elements like text, format,
How can you actually use this?
Basically, this accessiBe widget serves as a controller to make webpages accessible and compliant to the WCAG 2.1 standards by allowing users to make changes and adjustments on the layout according to their preferences.
Before we continue, take note of this:
20% of the world’s population have disabilities so if your website is not user-friendly for these group of people then that’s how much potential traffic you’re bound to lose and that’s what accessibility testing aims to resolve.
So how does accessiBe perform accessibility testing and how efficient can it be in solving these compliance issues?
For adjustments in the UI and design, this will be discussed later in the Accessibility Interface section of this review. For this section, we shall be focusing on the background testing side and the adjustments that this technology is capable of doing.
To begin with:
Making your website compliant for screen readers and keyboard navigation can be really challenging especially if the website has been operating for long time already and a lot of pages have already been published since it was launched.
It can be very time-consuming and would require a lot of changes in the code to make it fully compliant and accessible for people with disabilities.
For these complex requirements, accessiBe claims to offer complete WCAG & ADA compliance and in order to prove its effectiveness, we tested it on several websites that have been online since 2010 are not accessible-friendly.
So how did it turn out? We were surprised on how it was able to fully scan and automatically make adjustments on the websites in such a short span of time.
It took less than a day (just a few hours) to scan and fix websites that had around 100 pages while those that had over 1000 pages took longer but the optimization was completed within 2 days. This is still much faster compared to manual accessibility audit and testing which can take a long time to accomplish (could take weeks or months).
So what were the adjustments made? For screen readers, it will automatically make enhancements on all the important site elements such as alt tags, ARIA attributes, forms and validations, icons and buttons. It is also capable of adding keyboard functionalities for user-friendly navigation via this device. It easily made keyboard navigation adjustments on menus, buttons, forms, dropdowns, skip links and even popups.
And to fully evaluate those fixes and adjustments made by accessiBe, we asked several people with disabilities to test these newly-optimized websites and navigate them as they would using their own screen readers and keyboards.
The result? They were very satisfied as they were able to browse through all the pages with the same level of efficiency as other users.
Overall, we were very impressed on how fast and efficient accessiBe was in analyzing and optimizing the websites that we tested.
As a web developer or designer, you need to keep in mind that user-friendliness is one of the most essential features of any accessible website. Every user has different needs and more so for people with disabilities so they always need to be considered when designing your UI.
accessiBe claims that their interface can be configured and modified based on the browsing preferences of their users. With this kind of technology, this will allow your website to meet the accessibility requirements in terms of design, readability and user interface.
How can this be useful?
This will greatly benefit users that have visual impairments, cognitive disabilities, epilepsy and other disabilities since they will have the opportunity to personally adjust the UI design based on their personal needs.
Another advantage that’s worth mentioning is that they have a set of pre-built profiles that were specially designed for specific disabilities:
1. Visually Impaired Profile
This has an interface with bigger fonts and enhanced visuals for better browsing especially for users that are diagnosed with tunnel vision, cataract, degrading eyesight and glaucoma.
2. Cognitive Disability Profile
This is designed for people with autism, dyslexia and users who had cerebrovascular accidents (stroke) as adjustments have been made so they can focus on the important parts and content of the website.
3. Seizure Safe Profile
Any flashing or flickering elements including too many colors have been removed to make it safer for users who have epilepsy avoid triggering possible seizures.
4. ADHD Friendly Profile
Any possible distractions and noise have been lessened with this profile so people with neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHA will be able to focus more on the content.
5. Blind Users Profile
Via this profile, the website will be made compatible with screen readers like NVDA and JAWS so blind users will be able to browse them.
6. Keyboard Navigation Profile
As the name implies, browsing the website using a keyboard is possible via this profile and this is designed for people with motor impairments.
As an alternative…
There’s also the option to manually configure and adjust specific features based on 3 types of adjustments:
1. Content Adjustments
Via the Content Adjustments setting, you’ll be able to configure a lot of parameters such as content scaling, readable fonts, highlight texts, highlight links, magnify texts, adjust font sizes, adjust lune height, adjust letter spacing, and align the content to left, center or right.
2. Color Adjustments
There are also plenty of ways to automatically adjust the color of your website based on the user’s preferences via this plugin. Users can simply choose the site to load with dark, light or high contrast. There’s also the option to set everything in monochrome or with just low saturation.
The colors of the texts, titles and even the background can also be configured and users will be able to choose from the following colors: blue, purple, red, orange, teal, green, white and black.
3. Orientation Adjustments
Those with reading preferences will be able to benefit from the Orientation Adjustment as it has a lot of settings that can be customized.
Users have the option to mute sounds, hide images and stop animations from the site if they wish to.
There’s also a Read Mode which automatically hides all images and will show only the texts. Another useful tool is the Reading Mask which will cover the entire page and will only show sections where the mouse pointer is placed. And speaking of mouse pointer, the interface will also allow users to see much bigger pointer in black or white.
Visually impaired users can also take advantage of the reading guide which automatically assigns an assistive large blue line on the mouse pointer so they can focus and read the content more conveniently.
The Highlight Focus is also very helpful in boxing and separating content so readers will be able to identify certain sections.
So how much would it cost to integrate accessiBe’s AI solution to your website? You have the choice of subscribing to either their annual or monthly plans.
As you can see from the image below, they have 4 types of plans and all are generally based on the number of unique pages of the website, not on the cost of the service.
Here’s the deal:
The annual plans are much more affordable in the long term because the costs are lower by 20% as compared to the monthly plans.
For example, a Standard annual plan costs only $490 per year while the monthly plan has a price tag of $49 which is equivalent to $588 for the same period (12 months).
And here’s what we noticed:
All of these plans have the same benefits so even if you are subscribed with the Standard account, you’d get to enjoy all the perks with that of a Jumbo account.
In comparison with other accessibility services, the costs are actually less expensive as other brands would usually charge around $1000 to $50,000. This range is for an annual contract so accessiBe’s plans are actually a good deal if you’d ask us.
Now you might be wondering about those accessibility plugins that offer free services or have lower fees. First of all, there’s nothing wrong if you’re going to use those free plugins because they do provide some benefit but the reality is that these are only capable of solving minor accessibility issues.
And for those services that cost just a few dollars, here’s the plain truth: You get what you paid for.
Sure it won’t cost you much but these will most like cover not even a quarter of the web accessibility requirements.
Reality check: If these free and less expensive solutions are really effective then they would have been widely used by a lot websites right now but the thing is, we haven’t even seen these plugins used by any of the sites that we have previously visited.
All in all, we think that accessiBe’s pricing is reasonable especially if you already have an existing website and want to make it accessible. Obviously, it’s not dirt-cheap and is on the low-to-medium side in terms of pricing. But with the premium benefits and the fast turnaround, this is quite a steal.
We can’t emphasize enough…
Good customer service is critical to determine the reliability of your service provider especially in the world web accessibility. As for accessiBe, you’ll soon find out if they are dependable in providing customer support for their clients.
To begin with, they have a comprehensive support page where you can find a lot of information including account management, installation guides, FAQs and others.
Unless it’s a very uncommon question or concern, you might want to check out this page first because we were able to find most of the answers that we were looking for here.
On the downside…
They don’t have a phone number that you can contact although you can fill-out a short online form with your name, email, direct link and full description of the issue, and a relevant screenshot for technical concerns and submit a support request.
There’s also a different form for pre-sale questions or if you want a demo of their service.
And of course, there’s an integrated live chat feature that you can access straight from their website by clicking on the icon located at the lower right corner of the screen.
It was quite impressive as we were able to instantly chat with Katie who was very accommodating in answering all of our questions.
What’s also worth mentioning about this experience is that she provided us with straight-to-the-point answers and didn’t do any marketing tactics during the entire conversation. This definitely deserves two thumbs up!
In general, we were highly satisfied on the customer service quality and their fast response times. A hotline or phone support though would have made it perfect.
If you want your website to achieve full compliance with ADA and WCAG regulations, then accessiBe is the best web accessibility solution out there right now. No doubt about it.
What makes them stand out from the rest of the available options is that it works well with any website building platform or CMS so it doesn’t matter if your site is running on WiX, Shopify, Squarespace Shopify or Weebly because the plugin is fully compatible and won’t have any issues at all.
And further speaking of compatibility, it also works harmoniously with screen readers and keyboard navigators, which makes it more friendly people with disabilities.
Compared to other accessibility services and plugins in the market, the solution that they offer is much more comprehensive yet simple to implement so you can achieve your website’s full compliance in no time.
So if you want to skip arduous coding and time-consuming process of making your website continuously compliant, then accessiBe is the best and the most affordable web accessibility tool to use.